Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:Ezra 1:1(NASB)
God used Cyrus, the great king of Persia, to carry out His plans and purposes for Israel. He issued a proclamation which not only allowed the Jews to return to Judea, following their 70 year-long exile in Babylon, but also permitted them to rebuild the Temple of God.
Long before he was even born, Isaiah had prophesied that a man named Cyrus was destined to fulfil this extraordinary role in the history of Israel, and we read that, "the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of Persia, so that he sent a written proclamation throughout all his kingdom," that God Himself had charged him to build Him a house at Jerusalem!
Although Cyrus had ruled over vast territories for more than 20 years, he finally topped the great Babylonian empire which... 70-years earlier, had enslaved the people of Israel and destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the beautiful Temple of God. Indeed, the prophet Jeremiah had announced, many years earlier, that the Babylonian exile would last exactly 70 years! With the stroke of his pen, Cyrus-the-great fulfilled this great biblical prophecy.
Seventy years after the Jewish exile and during the first year of his great victory over Babylon, Cyrus signed his prophetic proclamation into law, which permitted the Israelites to return to their land and rebuild their Temple. The pin-point accuracy of fulfilled prophecy is an amazing testimony to the authority and truth of Scripture, which rejoices the heart and legitimises its content.
It must have been a great joy for the prophet Daniel to witness the fulfilment of these and other prophetic writings, which all took place in his lifetime. And similarly, it has continued to be a great encouragement and testimony for the people of God to identify the fulfilment of these... and numerous other biblical prophecies - many of which culminated in the first coming of Christ Who Himself is the personification and spirit of prophecy.
Fulfilled prophecy, such as this accurate decree of Cyrus to rebuild the City of Jerusalem and Temple of God, is a great validator of the Bible. It is evidence that the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God and can be wholly trusted.
Prophecy is also a great revealer of the future and can become a lamp that casts the light of understanding on things to come. It is a comfort to know that God knows the end from the beginning and is able to move the hearts of men to fulfil His perfect plans and purposes. What a comfort to know that God is in control and that what God has purposed will certainly come to pass - in HIS time and in HIS way.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the great prophetic Scriptures and their amazing, pin-point accuracy. Thank You that You have not left us in the dark, but have given us a clear understanding of Your plans and purposes in the Word of God. Give me a wise and understanding heart as I read Your Word - and help me to always have an answer for the hope that I have in You. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.